Its name comes from the Italian verb granire, meaning to reduce to grains. Its arrival on the island, instead, is due to the Arab gastronomic tradition, as during their domination in Sicily they imported a frozen drink flavored with fruit juices and called sherbet
Anyone in the world has not heard of it at least once in their life, any Sicilian does not associate it with Summer, any young inhabitant living abroad does not miss it every other day… We are talking about the granita, a dessert created from a semi-frozen liquid mixture, to which variable amounts of sugar and water are added. The compost is finally shaken during freezing to create a pasty mass.
The most common flavours, as well as the oldest, are undoubtedly lemon, almond, jasmine and black mulberry, created from fruit juices, although they have become increasingly more common coffee, pistachio, strawberry, peach, prickly pear and hazelnuts too. If such and many are its varieties and if this dessert has no equal in the rest of the world, it is because its origins date back to several centuries ago and its recipe has been handed down with fidelity from generation to generation – but let’s go with order.
First thing first, its name comes from the Italian verb granire, meaning to reduce to grains. Its arrival on the island, instead, is due to the Arab gastronomic tradition, as during their domination in Sicily they imported a frozen drink flavored with fruit juices and called sherbet. The locals liked it to the point of pushing many nobles to collect snow in Winter and scratch it in Summer in order to prepare several syrups.
In the 1700s, sea salt was added to the ice and the mixture began to be treated in a wooden vat called pozzetto. Meanwhile, its flavour improved more and more thanks to the introduction of the ice cream maker in the 20th century. Finally, less than fifty years ago, the Neapolitan Salvatore Cortese devised an electromechanical vertical slush machine, which replaced the manual one and accelerated the spread of this spoon dessert all over the world.
Translated by Eva Luna Mascolino